Research: User Groupings and Personas

Examples of user grouping and persona creation for a comprehensive healthcare application

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NOTE: While there are many different user research methods, all with the goal of helping us understand our users and their needs, two of the most powerful are User Grouping and Personas, which are the focus of this case study.

User Grouping and Persona Creation

I developed user groupings and and personas to help the product team develop deeper understanding and empathy for users of a comprehensive healthcare application we were designing that was targeted for usage in clinics. The groupings and personas are built from previously conducted user research, including:

  • Contextual Inquiry visits to clinics, where I directly observed clinicians and other staff were performing their work,

  • Interviews with clients using the company's current product offering and competing products, and

  • In-house knowledge of our users and their needs gathered from product teams, SMEs, and support staff.

User Research

User Grouping template (customized per application or feature)

User Groupings

About User Groupings:

  • Groupings help us understand the different categories of users, with differing needs, for whom we need to design.

  • Groupings are based on the key attributes of user populations. These attributes are identified via user research and will vary by product and user population.

  • Groupings serve as a platform for development of personas.

  • User groupings may grow or shrink after additional user research.

Key attributes used for grouping users of this application:

  1. Job area/role or business relationship. Examples: Patient-facing (non-clinical), Clinical, Business-facing, Consumer (Patient, Family)

  2. Domain experience. Experience in the domain for which they are responsible (e.g. scheduling, billing, writing reports, etc.)

  3. Task scope. For how many different tasks within our software is the user responsible?

  4. Collaboration & Communication needs. With whom does this person collaborate? What methods do they use? Do they have to use other systems (outside our app)?

  5. Frequency of usage. How often and for how long does the user use the app?

  6. Device preferences. Are there attributes of the user’s tasks that would favor one device over another, or the use of multiple devices?

  7. Goals & Motivations. What are the user’s primary goals & motivations when doing their job? (e.g. speed, accuracy, delighting the patient, etc.)

  8. Pain points & Frustrations. What tasks (and current methods of performing tasks) are frustrating to the user?

User Groupings for the app, developed by analyzing previous user research:
User Research

Example Persona, based on a User Grouping


About Personas

  • Summarize user research into a more digestible form.

  • Are characterizations of user groupings.

  • Presented as profiles of individual persons that describe their skills, behaviors, and other attributes.

  • Provide continuous focus on users throughout the design and dev processes.

Goals of Personas:

  1. Guide design decisions by taking a “real” user’s point of view.

  2. Create empathy for users with stakeholders & dev team.